As manager of the Rosetta mission, Fred Jansen was responsible for the successful 2014 landing of a probe on the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In this fascinating and funny talk, Jansen reveals some of the intricate calculations that went into landing the Philae probe on a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth — and shares some incredible photographs taken along the way. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, rocket science, science, space, technology, TED2015, 2015
Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, science, TED2015, 2015
Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of the topic. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, humor, neuroscience, science, TED2015, 2015
Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, AI, brain, cognitive science, computers, intelligence, memory,...
Juan Enriquez challenges our definition of bioenergy. Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter -- and thus, growable. Our whole approach to fuel, he argues, needs to change. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, biotech, business, energy, science, technology, tedbooks,...
In this short talk, psychologist Dan Ariely tells two personal stories that explore scientific conflict of interest: How the pursuit of knowledge and insight can be affected, consciously or not, by shortsighted personal goals. When we're thinking about the big questions, he reminds us, let's be aware of our all-too-human brains. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, cognitive science, economics, medical research, science, technology,...
Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, neuroscience, science, youth, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
Biologist Richard Dawkins makes a case for "thinking the improbable" by looking at how the human frame of reference limits our understanding of the universe. favorite ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2005, TED, Talks, astronomy, biology, cognitive science, cosmos, evolution,...
Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, NASA, future, history, physics, rocket science, science, space, storytelling,...
Just like us, the monarch butterfly sometimes gets sick thanks to a nasty parasite. But biologist Jaap de Roode noticed something interesting about the butterflies he was studying — infected female butterflies would choose to lay their eggs on a specific kind of plant that helped their offspring avoid getting sick. How do they know to choose this plant? Think of it as “the other butterfly effect” — which could teach us to find new medicines for the treatment of human disease. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, biology, insects, science, TEDYouth 2014, 2014
Where are the baby dinosaurs? In a spellbinding talk from TEDxVancouver paleontologist Jack Horner describes how slicing open fossil skulls revealed a shocking secret about some of our most beloved dinosaurs. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxVancouver, TED, Talks, biology, paleontology, science, 2010
Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, art, biology, science, TEDSalon Berlin 2014, 2014
Mice, bugs and hamsters are no longer the only way to study the brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) allows scientists to map brain activity in living, breathing, decision-making human beings. Read Montague gives an overview of how this technology is helping us understand the complicated ways in which we interact with each other. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, neuroscience, science, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
In the quest to map the brain, many scientists have attempted the incredibly daunting task of recording the activity of each neuron. Gero Miesenboeck works backward -- manipulating specific neurons to figure out exactly what they do, through a series of stunning experiments that reengineer the way fruit flies percieve light. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2010, TED, Talks, biology, brain, neurology, science, 2010
As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world’s most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science -- and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, humor, science, technology, TEDMED 2014, 2014
Armed with a sense of humor and laypeople's terms, Nobel winner Murray Gell-Mann drops some knowledge on TEDsters about particle physics, asking questions like, Are elegant equations more likely to be right than inelegant ones? Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, physics, science, storytelling, technology, 2007
Biologist Robert Full shares slo-mo video of some captivating critters. Take a closer look at the spiny legs that allow cockroaches to scuttle across mesh and the nanobristle-packed feet that let geckos to run straight up walls. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2005, TED, Talks, design, evolution, robots, science, technology, 2005
You can't understand climate change in pieces, says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. It's the whole, or it's nothing. In this illuminating talk, he explains how he studies the big picture of climate change with mesmerizing models that illustrate the endlessly complex interactions of small-scale environmental events. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, climate change, environment, science, TED2014, 2014
Physicists are used to the idea that subatomic particles behave according to the bizarre rules of quantum mechanics, completely different to human-scale objects. In a breakthrough experiment, Aaron O'Connell has blurred that distinction by creating an object that is visible to the unaided eye, but provably in two places at the same time. In this talk he suggests an intriguing way of thinking about the result. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, philosophy, physics, science, 2011
Swiss artist and photographer Fabian Oefner is on a mission to make eye-catching art from everyday science. In this charming talk, he shows off some recent psychedelic images, including photographs of crystals as they interact with soundwaves. And, in a live demo, he shows what really happens when you mix paint with magnetic liquid--or when you set fire to whiskey. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, photography, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
There have been remarkable advances in understanding the brain, but how do you actually study the neurons inside it? Using gorgeous imagery, neuroscientist and TED Fellow Carl Schoonover shows the tools that let us see inside our brai Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, art, biotech, neuroscience, science, technology, TED2012, 2012
Many of the world's biggest problems require asking questions of scientists -- but why should we believe what they say? Historian of science Naomi Oreskes thinks deeply about our relationship to belief and draws out three problems with common attitudes toward scientific inquiry -- and gives her own reasoning for why we ought to trust science. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, climate change, history, science, TEDSalon NY2014, 2014
On any given day we're lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and "hotspots" used by those trained to recognize deception -- and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, psychology, science, society, TEDGlobal 2011, 2011
Did you know you have functioning neurons in your intestines -- about a hundred million of them? Food scientist Heribert Watzke tells us about the "hidden brain" in our gut and the surprising things it makes us feel. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, food, science, technology, TEDGlobal 2010, 2010
What's six miles wide and can end civilization in an instant? An asteroid -- and there are lots of them out there. With humor and great visuals, Phil Plait enthralls the TEDxBoulder audience with all the ways asteroids can kill, and what we must do to avoid them. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxBoulder, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, astronomy, science, technology, 2011
How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you're moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDSalon London Spring 2011, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, exploration,...
Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can improve the lives of everyone affected, but the complex network of causes make it incredibly difficult to predict. At TEDxPeachtree, Ami Klin describes a new early detection method that uses eye-tracking technologies to gauge babies' social engagement skills and reliably measure their risk of developing autism. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, cognitive science, mental health, psychology, science, tedx,...
What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between sensitivity to disgusting cues -- a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor -- and moral and political conservatism. (Filmed at TEDxEast.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, choice, cognitive science, morality, politics, psychology, science,...
Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become "aligned," when we hear the same idea or story. This amazing neural mechanism allows us to transmit brain patterns, sharing memories and knowledge. "We can communicate because we have a common code that presents meaning," Hasson says. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, collaboration, communication, language, mind,...
How do babies learn so much from so little so quickly? In a fun, experiment-filled talk, cognitive scientist Laura Schulz shows how our young ones make decisions with a surprisingly strong sense of logic, well before they can talk. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, children, cognitive science, mind, science, youth, TED2015, 2015
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, cognitive science, evolution, neurology, science, TEDIndia...
Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine talks (hilariously) about science, math, society and the way everything connects. She's a brilliant trickster, poking holes in our fixed ideas and bringing hidden truths to light. Settle in and let her ping your brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, cognitive science, comedy, entertainment, humor, philosophy,...
In this factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, genetics, health, neuroscience, science, TED2014, 2014
For the last 12 years, Carter Emmart has been coordinating the efforts of scientists, artists and programmers to build a complete 3D visualization of our known universe. He demos this stunning tour and explains how it's being shared with facilities around the wor Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, art, astronomy, science, space, technology, TED2010, 2010
In this first-of-its-kind demo, Heather Knight introduces Data, a robotic stand-up comedian that does much more than rattle off one-liners -- it gathers audience feedback (using software co-developed with Scott Satkin and Varun Ramakrishna at CMU) and tunes its act as the crowd responds. Is this thing on? Topics: TEDTalks, TEDWomen, TED, Talks, comedy, entertainment, robots, science, technology, 2010
Sebastian Seung is mapping a massively ambitious new model of the brain that focuses on the connections between each neuron. He calls it our "connectome," and it's as individual as our genome -- and understanding it could open a new way to understand our brains and our minds. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2010, TED, Talks, brain, mind, science, technology, 2010
Christopher McDougall explores the mysteries of the human desire to run. How did running help early humans survive -- and what urges from our ancient ancestors spur us on today? At TEDxPennQuarter, McDougall tells the story of the marathoner with a heart of gold, the unlikely ultra-runner, and the hidden tribe in Mexico that runs to live. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxPennQuarter, TED, Talks, entertainment, health, journalism, science, sports, 2010
We've been to the moon, we've mapped the continents, we've even been to the deepest point in the ocean -- twice. What's left for the next generation to explore? Biologist and explorer Nathan Wolfe suggests this answer: Almost everything. And we can start, he says, with the world of the unseeably small. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, exploration, microbiology, science, TED2012, 2012
The gastric brooding frog lays its eggs just like any other frog -- then swallows them whole to incubate. That is, it did until it went extinct 30 years ago. Paleontologist Michael Archer makes a case to bring back the gastric brooding frog and the thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger. (Filmed at TEDxDeExtinction.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, deextinction, science, TEDxDeExtinction, 2013
How do we search for alien life if it's nothing like the life that we know? At TEDxUIUC Christoph Adami shows how he uses his research into artificial life -- self-replicating computer programs -- to find a signature, a 'biomarker,' that is free of our preconceptions of what life is. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, evolution, life, science, TEDxUIUC, 2011
They're the second largest fish in the world, they're almost extinct, and we know almost nothing about them. At TEDxDublin, Simon Berrow describes the fascinating basking shark ("Great Fish of the Sun" in Irish), and the exceptional -- and wonderfully low-tech -- ways he's learning enough to save them. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxDublin, TED, Talks, biology, environment, oceans, science, 2010
From deep in the TED archive, Danny Hillis outlines an intriguing theory of how and why technological change seems to be accelerating, by linking it to the very evolution of life itself. The presentation techniques he uses may look dated, but the ideas are as relevant as ever. Topics: TEDTalks, TED1994, TED, Talks, future, science, technology, 1994
Swallowing pills to get medication is a quick, painless and often not entirely effective way of treating disease. A potentially better way? Lasers. In this passionate talk, TED Fellow Patience Mthunzi explains her idea to use lasers to deliver drugs directly to cells infected with HIV. It's early days yet, but could a cure be on the horizon? Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, health, medicine, science, TED2015, 2015
We humans set a premium on our own free will and independence ... and yet there's a shadowy influence we might not be considering. As science writer Ed Yong explains in this fascinating, hilarious and disturbing talk, parasites have perfected the art of manipulation to an incredible degree. So are they influencing us? It's more than likely. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, biology, microbiology, science, TED2014, 2014
"Save the rainforest” is an environmental slogan as old as time — but Tasso Azevedo catches us up on how the fight is actually going these days. Spurred by the jaw-dropping losses of the 1990s, new laws (and transparent data) are helping slow the rate of deforestation in Brazil. Is it enough? Not yet. He has five ideas about what we should do next. And he asks if the lessons learned in Brazil be applied to an even bigger problem: global climate change. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, climate change, politics, science, TEDGlobal 2014, 2014
In a presentation that can only be described as epic, comedian Charles Fleischer delivers a hysterical send-up of a time-honored TED theme: the map. Geometry, numbers, charts and stamp art also factor in (somehow), as he weaves together a unique theory of everything called "Moleeds." Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, astronomy, comedy, humor, map, science, TED2005, 2005
Our bodies are covered in a sea of microbes -- both the pathogens that make us sick and the "good" microbes, about which we know less, that might be keeping us healthy. At TEDMED, microbiologist Jonathan Eisen shares what we know, including some surprising ways to put those good microbes to work. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, health, microbiology, science, TEDMED 2012, 2012
Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2012, TED, Talks, energy, science, technology, youth, 2012
There are people who can quickly memorize lists of thousands of numbers, the order of all the cards in a deck (or ten!), and much more. Science writer Joshua Foer describes the technique -- called the memory palace -- and shows off its most remarkable feature: anyone can learn how to use it, including him. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, memory, neuroscience, science, TED2012, 2012
Humorist John Hodgman rambles through a new story about aliens, physics, time, space and the way all of these somehow contribute to a sweet, perfect memory of falling in love. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, love, physics, science, TED2008, 2008